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Installing a Home Pool: Practical Considerations

If you’re thinking of installing a pool at home, you’re probably imagining a slice of vacation in your backyard. And while you can make this dream a reality, you also need to consider the fact that having a pool put in means less glitzy realities. Excavations, building regulations and safety considerations are all part of it too. Here’s more about the practical considerations you need to think about for your home pool project.

You just need to look at the latest stats to see how popular pools are in the United States. The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance says there are over 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States. And there are around 68,000 new in-ground pools installed in homes every year, with a further 27,000 pools with spas constructed in people’s homes too. That comes to a massive $4.5 billion that people spend on a new pool every year! And these figures don’t even account for above ground pools and hot tubs. The ten states where new pools are most popular are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

If you’re thinking of jumping on the band-wagon, you’re in good company! But you don’t want to get swept up in the dream before thinking of the practical side of pool installation. Here are the top things you’ll want to consider.

Digging Your Pool: Considerations from the Ground Up

You’re probably ready to get started and start digging, but you’ll find there’s more to consider than just where to place that first shovel in the ground. How deep will you need to go, and what will be good pool dimensions for your space? This totally depends on the type of pool you’re envisaging. Do you want a shallow splash pool for the kids? Or a deeper pool suitable for doing some serious lap swimming too? Beyond the depth, you need to think about what’s beneath the surface. Hitting a utility line could be a very expensive mistake. So get utility maps before you book your work in, and do some sample trenches to be sure of what you’re dealing with.

Space around the pool is another crucial aspect. You’ll need enough room not only for the pool itself but also for a surrounding area. This could be a deck or simply a safety barrier – the pool safety experts: Pool Guard USA, can advise you on this. Think about future additions you might want as well, such as a pool house or a BBQ area. Can your space accommodate this, or is there a better way you could plan this project?

And have you thought about drainage? Proper drainage means the water from both the pool and natural rain doesn’t stagnate or flood your property. If you let this happen, it could damage the pool structure and your garden as a whole. Consult with a professional to evaluate the best drainage system for your specific yard condition. You won’t regret it, as water damage can be another very expensive thing to rectify.

Building Regulations for Your Pool

Before you break ground, you’ll need to ensure your pool meets local building regulations. Didn’t know pools had to follow building regulations? You’re not alone? A lot of people think that because it’s something you do in your private yard, it doesn’t have a wider impact on your locality. Actually, there are regulations, and they’re a set of standards created by local or state governments to ensure safety, sustainability, and compliance with zoning laws. You’ll find they can include anything from the required fencing or barriers around your pool to specific construction materials, depth limitations, and even the type of backfill that can be used.

It’s totally normal that these regulations can vary from one state to another, as many other things do. For instance, in California, you might find stricter energy efficiency requirements for pool pumps, while in Florida, the focus might be more on storm-resistant construction standards to withstand hurricanes. The key here is to remember that these rules are not there to dampen your dream but to protect you, your family, and your investment.

Before you get too far into your pool planning, make a pit stop at your local municipal office or check their website. Often, they’ll have a detailed list of what’s required or, at the very least, point you in the direction of a helpful representative. Ignoring this step can not only lead to costly redo’s but also legal headaches you definitely don’t want.

Prioritizing Safety in Your Pool Area: A Must for Every Home

When it comes to installing a pool in your backyard, thinking about safety is as crucial as selecting the right pool design. It’s not just about making your pool area look good; it’s about ensuring it’s a safe haven for everyone who uses it, especially if children are around.

First off, consider the fencing. It’s not merely a boundary marker; it’s a critical safety feature. A properly installed fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate can be the difference between peace of mind and a heart-stopping moment. Next, think about pool alarms. They aren’t just gadgets; they are your ears when you can’t be around the pool, alerting you the moment someone enters the water unexpectedly.

And don’t forget the pool cover. A robust cover doesn’t just keep your pool clean; it acts as a barrier for unsupervised access, giving you an additional layer of security. Lastly, a clear set of pool rules can help avoid unnecessary risks — no running, no diving in the shallow end, and always swim with a buddy.

Stepping into the world of pool ownership isn’t just about adding a luxurious feature to your home; it’s about creating a haven for joy, relaxation, and family time. Yet, it demands a blend of dreams and practicality. From understanding the gritty details of excavation to navigating the maze of building regulations, and prioritizing the safety of your loved ones, every step you take brings you closer to making your dream pool a reality.

What the Future of Work Will Look Like 10 Years from Now

As humans developed better technology, many jobs became obsolete. Ask people what a switchboard operator is, and most of them won’t be able to answer. However, the rising popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) makes professionals from every industry worry about their future. People can’t help but wonder what the future of work will look like. Knowing the answer to that question can help people prepare for the future. 

The Future of Work – 7 Key Trends:

Reports predict that between 2016 and 2030, AI may affect nearly 15% of the global workforce. Future trends can help employees determine how to get ahead of AI and secure their positions. Here are the key trends about the future of work: 

Re-Imagined Organizations: 

The number of millennial and Gen Z employees will increase in every company over the next ten years. Younger employees want to play a role in making the world a better place. Finding purpose in work is more important to millennials than bonuses and incentives. To attract such a workforce, organizations will have to be re-imagined. As part of the re-imagining, organizations must find a way to give back. 

Businesses must also bid farewell to strict hierarchies where everyone has a fixed role. Teams will handle projects, and dictators will have no place in a re-imagined workforce. Companies will also invest in training programs to improve the skills of their employees. 

Marketization of Domestic Work: 

The future could see people turning unpaid and low-paid work into capital. The trend will focus primarily on domestic work, which includes cooking, cleaning, and gardening. Even with automation, offices will require commodities like janitorial cleaning services regularly. As a result, domestic work can be commercialized at a massive level to create more jobs. 

In the future, individuals and companies will also turn to cleaning and cooking services. So, the higher the investment in the domestic sector, the better the returns will be ten years from now.

Emphasis on Wellness:

Businesses have realized that a happy workforce is also highly productive. As a result, companies will invest in their employees’ physical and mental health. The change could come in different ways. Companies might offer better health and wellness insurance or create healthier environments. 

The offices of the future will be designed to receive maximum daylight. They will also have sleeping rooms and relaxation areas. Many offices already have pets to help workers stay calm during busy work days, and this trend might become more popular over the next ten years. 

AI Will Join the Workforce:

AI has already joined the workforce in multiple companies worldwide. However, the scope of AI will only get bigger with time. According to the World Economic Forum, machines will handle 42% of business tasks by 2027. As businesses automate more tasks, the speed of production will increase. 

However, it is critical to consider the importance of professionals who can make the most of AI. Companies will have to find professionals skilled in using AI to their advantage. As humans and AI collaborate, the work environment will get less stressful. However, it would also give rise to ethical questions regarding the use of AI. Businesses must find the answers before they decide to start using automation. 

Deskless Places to Work: 

Sitting at your desk all day results in many physical and mental hurdles. Employees can develop chronic back pain after sitting in the same position daily. To ensure the health of their employees, companies will have to change things around. Instead of the current workplaces lined with desks, the future will have non-conventional places to work for employees. In the same office, employees will have the option to work in different areas. The desk-less era will see workers moving to different places depending on their mood. 

Virtual Assistant:

Many people already get a lot done around the house with Siri and Alexa. However, this trend hasn’t become common in companies yet. In the future, more companies could understand the need for virtual assistants. 

With virtual assistants in the workforce, employees will be able to get work done on time. Virtual assistants can not only set alarms and reminders for you but also create spreadsheets and check emails for you. 

Skill-Based Workforce:

Instead of focusing on qualifications, future employers will look at skills. Hirings will be done based on candidates’ skills rather than the number of degrees they have. Although automation can take care of scientific roles, businesses need people with skills to handle the rest. Companies will also have to invest in reskilling and learning for their employees. With the changing times, it will become vital for the workers to keep polishing and improving their skills. 

The future of work predicts many changes in organizations. The trends listed above can teach you what skills you will need to survive in the workforce ten years from now.

2024 Guide to the Best Places to Live Across Canada

Choosing a new place to live can be an exciting challenge, especially in a country as big and varied as Canada. Each year, cities across the nation offer different advantages depending on economy, culture, and community developments. This guide to the best places to live in Canada can help you find your ideal city, considering factors like employment opportunities, housing affordability, quality of education, healthcare, and lifestyle.

From bustling metropolitan centers to serene suburban communities, this list reflects a diversity of options catering to families, young professionals, and retirees. You can examine each destination’s unique characteristics, from economic landscapes and recreational opportunities to cultural offerings and community atmosphere.

Whether you’re drawn to the coastal views and vibrant urban life of Vancouver or the historical charms and bilingual culture of Quebec City, keep reading for a clear picture of what each of these top places has to offer. Here are the top five cities and towns across Canada that can provide an enriching living experience for you and your family. 

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is often celebrated for its spectacular natural scenery and vibrant cultural scene, making it one of the most livable cities in the world. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountains, Vancouver has many abundant outdoor activities due to a mild climate.

From the sandy beaches of Kitsilano to the expansive Stanley Park, residents and visitors can enjoy hiking, cycling, and watersports right in their backyard. The proximity to world-renowned ski resorts like Whistler provides winter sports enthusiasts with endless opportunities. 

The city’s economy is diverse, spearheaded by industries like technology, film, and tourism. Vancouver’s tech scene is particularly dynamic, with everything from ambitious startups to major players like Amazon and Microsoft. This developing tech hub is supported by a highly educated workforce and a collaborative spirit that drives innovation. The city’s status as “Hollywood North,” thanks to its thriving film industry, adds a layer of glamour and economic vitality.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is known for its spirited energy and strong economic growth, making it an appealing destination for entrepreneurs and businesses. Traditionally driven by the oil and gas industry, Calgary has been diversifying its economic base and now thrives in technology, financial services, and clean energy.

This economic diversification has led to a resilient job market and attracted a vibrant, young workforce from across Canada and around the world. The city also benefits from having one of the highest head offices per capita concentrations in Canada, making it a key player in national business networks. 

One of Calgary’s best attributes is its proximity to the Rocky Mountains. This geographical advantage allows for an active lifestyle that’s hard to match, with activities like hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding all just a short drive away. The city is also known for its extensive urban pathway and bikeway network, which spans over 1,000 kilometers, creating opportunities for active commuting and leisure activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Ottawa, Ontario 

Ottawa, as the capital of Canada, not only serves as the political center but also as one of the top places to live due to its high quality of life. The city is a center point for federal employment, providing many career opportunities in government departments and agencies. This steady flow of federal jobs helps maintain a low unemployment rate and stable economic conditions.

Ottawa also has a growing tech industry, nicknamed ‘Silicon Valley North,’ which diversifies its economic base and offers ample job opportunities. The real estate market in Ottawa offers stability and growth potential, thanks to the city’s steady economy and influx of professionals. Housing options range from urban condos in the bustling downtown core to spacious suburban homes perfect for families.

The market has consistent demand, driven by high employment rates and a reputation as a safe and affordable place to live. For those looking to invest in property, Ottawa provides a less volatile option compared to the hotter markets of Toronto and Vancouver, while still offering houses for sale with significant appreciation potential, making it an attractive option for homeowners and investors.

Toronto, Ontario 

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is full of culture and has one of the most diverse populations in the world. This diversity is a cornerstone of the city’s identity, offering residents and visitors a rich cultural experience. Neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Greektown allow individuals to immerse themselves in different cultures through food, festivals, and retail.

This cultural mix is celebrated throughout the year in city-wide events like Caribana, one of North America’s largest street festivals, and the Toronto International Film Festival, which attracts global cinephiles. 

Toronto is the economic capital of Canada, home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the fifth-largest city in North America by population. It is a hot spot for finance, business, telecommunications, and media, with many domestic and international corporations. 

This ensures a dynamic job market and continually attracts a skilled workforce from across the globe. The city’s growing influence in tech innovation, particularly in artificial intelligence and fintech, highlights its status as a leading global city with several employment opportunities.

Quebec City, Quebec 

Quebec City stands out with its distinctive Old World charm and deep-rooted history. The city’s architecture, with its cobblestone streets and the iconic Château Frontenac towering over the St. Lawrence River, is a picturesque setting that feels like stepping back in time. Old Quebec is the historic heart of the city with a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts millions of tourists. For residents, this means living in a place that values preservation and celebrates its historical heritage on every corner. 

Living in Quebec City means embracing a lifestyle that balances modern amenities with traditional European charm. Residents enjoy the benefits of a vibrant cultural scene, economic stability driven by tourism, and a close-knit community atmosphere. This unique combination makes Quebec City not just a place to visit, but a wonderful place to live, offering a quality of life that is both enriching and secure.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right place to call home is a decision that influences your lifestyle, career, and overall happiness. Each city listed offers a unique blend of attractions. Whether you’re seeking the excitement of urban life in Toronto, the entrepreneurial spirit of Calgary, or the stunning natural environment of Vancouver, Canada’s diverse cities cater to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles.

While considering your next move, think about what aspects of daily life are most important to you—access to top-tier schools, job opportunities, recreational activities, or cultural experiences. Remember, the best place to live aligns with your personal and professional goals, making you feel connected and content. Hopefully, this guide helps you find a Canadian city that feels like home, where you and your family can thrive and enjoy all that this beautiful country offers.

Niagara Falls: How to Have an Original Experience

Can you picture yourself standing surrounded by the incredible roar of Niagara Falls, feeling the mist on your face as you take in this world-famous waterfall? Now, picture doing all of this sans the elbow to elbow shuffle with thousands of tourists, seeking a sliver of unobstructed view. Sounds near impossible, right? Well, it is actually possible to have an original Niagara Falls experience that veers a little off the well-trodden path frequented by masses. Here are some tips on how to experience Niagara Falls in a more original way.

Niagara Falls spans the border between the United States and Canada. It actually consists of three waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the larger Horseshoe Falls. Together, they boast the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America. An astonishing six million cubic feet of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute!

The natural phenomenon of Niagara is one thing, but it also has a bit of a history with daredevils and stuntmen. Since the mid-19th century, people have attempted to conquer the falls in various contraptions, from barrels to tightropes, with varying degrees of success. Today, these stunts are illegal, but they contribute to the rich tapestry of tales surrounding the falls that people still love to talk about.

Visitor numbers to Niagara Falls are as impressive as its other stats, with an estimated 30 million people flocking here each year. This makes it one of the most visited tourist spots globally. It’s a testament to the fact that Niagara Falls is a natural wonder worth seeing. But it also means you’ll have to share your experience with many other people at the same time. However, if you know where to look, there are ways you can make your experience a little more unique. Here are some tips.

Consider Staying in Toronto

While Niagara Falls itself is a magnet for tourists, staying in Toronto offers a slightly less touristy experience with the added convenience of being able to plan a more serene day trip to the falls. Toronto is Canada’s bustling metropolis, and it’s only a 90-minute drive from Niagara Falls. This makes it an ideal base if you want to explore the falls without actually staying overnight amid the bustle of tourist crowds. If you’re in a group, look into options for Toronto charter coach bus. You’ll travel in more comfort this way, and you can set your own itinerary better. It ensures that everyone can travel together comfortably and hassle-free but also allows for a more personalized experience, letting you explore the falls and the surrounding area at your own pace. Staying in Toronto not only gives you the freedom to visit Niagara Falls on your terms but also allows you to enjoy the diverse cultural, gastronomic, and entertainment options that Toronto has to offer.

Explore the White Water Walk

Many visitors gravitate towards the thrill of the boat tours, which take you close to the base of the falls for a spectacular, but often crowded, view. A lesser-known but equally captivating experience is the White Water Walk. This attraction offers a unique vantage point to feel the raw power and hear the thunderous roar of the Niagara River’s Class 6 white-water rapids. The walk takes you along a boardwalk at the river’s edge, allowing for an up-close and personal experience with the turbulent waters that is unmatched by the boat tours. Here, the sheer velocity and force of the river are palpable, providing a more intimate sense of the natural power of Niagara Falls and its surroundings. It’s a serene, less crowded alternative that can give you a different perspective on the water’s majestic nature.

Hire a Personal, Local Guide

For another original Niagara Falls experience, consider hiring a personal, local guide. Going beyond the conventional tours, a local guide brings a personalized touch to exploring the falls, sharing stories, historical facts, and hidden gems that are often overlooked by the regular tourist routes. They can tailor the tour to your interests, whether you’re keen on photography, history, or seeking out lesser-known vantage points. A local guide can also advise on the best times to visit certain spots to avoid the crowds and even introduce you to local dining experiences. This option not only supports the local economy but enriches your visit, making it a memorable adventure rather than a standard sightseeing trip.

Book an Early Morning Boat Tour During Off Peak Season

To do some of the touristy activities while avoiding the crowds at Niagara Falls, book an early morning boat tour, especially during the off peak season (mid October to early May). The misty mornings at the falls have a magical quality to them, but early tours also mean fewer tourists, allowing for unobstructed views and the tranquil sounds of nature. Off-peak months usually see a significant reduction in visitor numbers, making this time ideal for those who prefer a more peaceful experience. You might need to wrap up warmer as the weather is colder, but you might not be bothered about this if it makes it easier for you to spend more time exploring the beauty of Niagara Falls without the inconvenience of large crowds. And some people dislike the summer heat anyway! This timing also increases your chances of getting more personalized attention during the tour, enhancing the overall quality of your visit.

An authentic experience of Niagara Falls – one of the most loved tourist spots in the world – is possible with a little creativity. Choose some of the less famous activities and pick your timings carefully for an altogether better experience. You can still do everything you want to, while avoiding being elbow to elbow with other people all the time. It’s a win-win situation you’ll want to embrace when you visit this natural wonder of the world!